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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit posts two Indiana opinions, filed August 4th, one a reversal that overrules prior precedent

In Light v. Caraway, Warden (SD Ind., Magnus-Stinson), a 15-page opinion, Judge Tinder writes:

[Petitioner-Appellant Augustus Light's] contended that in light of Begay, he was entitled to a sentence reduction because one of his predicate ACCA convictions did not qualify as a “violent felony.” The Indiana district court dismissed the habeas petition on the grounds that relief under § 2255 had been available to him and had not been “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention,” and consequently Light did not qualify for the savings clause. The district court reasoned that “the remedy afforded by § 2255 was anything but ‘unavailable’ or ineffective to test the validity” of Light’s conviction. Light timely appealed. We review the denial of his habeas petition de novo, and all of the district court’s factual determinations for clear error. Blake v. United States, 723 F.3d 870, 879 (7th Cir. 2013). * * *

For the foregoing reasons, we AFFIRM the decision below.

In Boley v. Colvin, Social Sec. Adm. (SD Ind., Young), a 10-page opinion, Judge Easterbrook writes:
Marilyn Boley asked the So cial Security Administration for disability insurance benefits. The agency denied her request initially and on reconsidera tion. A person dissatisfied with such a decision has 60 days to request a hearing by an administrative law judge. 20 C.F.R. §404.933(b)(1). Boley took about nine months — but she had a reason. When the Administration made its deci sion on reconsideration, it notified Boley but not her lawyer, despite 20 C.F.R. §404.1715(a), which requires notice to the claimant’s representative. Boley was ill at the time (she was preparing for a double mastectomy) and relied on her law yer to protect her interests; she did not know, until it was too late, that her lawyer was in the dark. * * *

The prospect of moving from one side of a conflict to an other is not attractive, especially when the conflict is so old and the Supreme Court has been content to allow the disa greement to continue. Nonetheless, we have a duty to apply §405(g) the way the Supreme Court did in Salfi and Eldridge, and we very much want to give the statute a reading that avoids unnecessary constitutional litigation of the kind that Watters and similar decisions invite.

Watters is overruled. This opinion has been circulated to all judges in active service under Circuit Rule 40(e). None requested a hearing en banc.

The district court’s judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to decide whether substantial evidence, and appropriate procedures, underlie the decision that Boley lacks “good cause” for her delay in seeking intra agency review.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 5, 2014 11:09 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions